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Ice Road Trip Movie the plods a path of drear
The plot of this Icelandic set Spanish drama comedy (yes its got comedy on it) is simple. Norberto has left Bruno and gone to Iceland, for some alternative climate conditions - one can only guess. Anyway Bruno does the Bunny boiler thing and sets out to track him down (should have used Grinder).
Once there he gets help from fellow Spaniard Arnau and after some questionable choices in knitwear purchases off they go. They end up in the Arctic Circle on an island called Grimsey - I thought this might be a reference to a lesser known Grime star - sadly not.
Now that is it - nowt really happens except we get the back story via various telephone messages where we see a relationship going through the slow death throes that we are all familiar with. Now this type of plot can be done really well or it can be done as it is here. I was non plussed at best and bored, disinterested and slightly annoyed at worst. Nothing to recommend this at all - not even any bedroom action, shower action, beech action or in fact action. Do yourself a favour and avoid this like - well a really cold holiday in a tasteless jumper - oh and the music is awful too but it only lasts 70 minutes - a boredom filled 70 minutes that is. In Spanish and some Icelandic with sub titles to explain the futility of it all.
England Is Mine (2017)
And Heaven knows I'm Miserable Now
Yes it was only a matter of time before the life of Stephen Morrissey was brought to the 'big screen' and here it is. Now this is ostensibly about how crud his life was before he started The Smiths with Jonny Marr. Played by a handsome devil in the shape of Jack Lowden - he was in 'Dunkirk'.
It centres around his life in Manchester and his struggles with depression and issues of friendship, trust angst and writing critical letters on the Manc music scene to the NME. All the actors do a good job in their respective roles but is does have a staged quality in places - probably due to the cheap wigs that are sadly a part of period films these days.
It started off quite well and I was hooked then it starts to meander and spends soo much time on how he was miserable and working in jobs he hated - well we have all done that so as a vehicle for escapism it sort of fails. Then just as it was starting to show a glimmer of hope.... The end credits roll or is it reel? Anyway I had that - how soon is now feeling and just said of Director Mark Gill - don't take a bow - sorry not recommended at all.
Syrian War based drama that is both intense and visceral
Set somewhere in Syria in the ongoing Civil War we meet Oum Yazan (Hiam Abass -- 'Bladerunner 2049') who is holding out in her flat as the war rages. The block has been hit several times and she has barricaded herself in with her family and neighbours who she has taken in.
The every day tasks of life - like dusting and cooking - take on a new emphasis as she struggles to adapt to incessant change whilst trying to cling to some sense of normalcy. As the bombs get closer so does the horrors of war and cleaning the dust alone will no longer cut it.
Now this is an excellent film for various reasons. The tension is visceral and the acting is all flawless. However, it is the gripping nature of the story that pulls you in and the immediacy of what is happening - whilst the World does next to nothing to help the innocent victims.
It has a relatively short running time of 83 minutes and some will not be pleased at the ending - but how do you have an ending when the end is still (as I write) not yet in sight? Made in a Belgian, French and Lebanese co production and presented in Arabic with good sub titles. If you like your cinema to be challenging thought provoking and stray from the beaten path then this may very well suit you - recommended.
The Belko Experiment (2016)
Interesting Shocker based in an office block
Belko are a global company that you just hate as they have smug slogans and pretend ethical standards, anyway we catch up with them in their new office in Bogotá, Colombia. Here they have some eighty Americans and one token Brit working with the locals. Then all the Colombians are given the day off and only the Americans are left.
Nest without any warning the shutters come up, locking them in, and a voice being belted out from somewhere tells them they all have to start killing each other. Any attempt to resist will, of course, be futile but to say anymore may ruin the fun for you.
Now I am usually not partial to a lot of blood splatter or gore fests but this is actually done really well and the acting is generally of a high calibre – even though there are no A listers here but some seasoned players. It is not a huge budget effort either and some may say this is a poor man's 'Battle Royale' but hey plagiarism is a form of compliment and I liked both films – so recommended.
Kept Boy (2017)
Small Budget but Big hearted gay indie.
Dennis lives with his sugar day that is real life TV type Farleigh who has more money than sense and likes to have his significant other not too far away. Dennis has grown used to the easy life and the trimmings of success but with his main actual achievement being 'looking smashing in athletic wear' as John Grant might say. Thing is time and tide wait for no man and after a life of lazy margheritas it is not going to be too long before age starts to show.
Then enter Jasper, he's hunky, he's sultry, he's Mexican and he is the new pool guy. But not for long – soon Farleigh has more than his interest piqued and all of a sudden Dennis has competition – big time.
Now this is one of those stories that plays the coincidence card a tad too many time but as its done so well you sort of forgive it. The actors are all really good especially Jon Paul Phillips as Dennis who really ought to get more gigs. The production is done well too and despite its indie background it comes across as a confident and grown up piece of film making – this is not one for those who want to be mired in bedroom action but is more character based and hence is one I can recommend to all fans of gay themed cinema
Simply a great fun and highly amusing comedy.
Washed up actor Richard Thorncroft once had it all with his hit eighties show 'Mindhorn' where he played a bionic cop – a bit like the Six Million Dollar Man but more for a price quoted in Pounds, shillings and pence. Then a brutal murder happens on The Isle of Man and the number one suspect will only deal with the legendary detective
despite the fact he is fictional.
Eager to relaunch his career and get back to the days of being recognised by the 'great unwashed' he accepts the gig and goes back in to character. Little does he know that when he walks back on to that island he walks back into the past and a whole 'cluster farque' of problems.
Needless to say I loved this. The slapstick, overacting and badly fitting wigs are a joy to behold. The marvellous Julian Barratt plays Mindhorn perfectly and all the cast are great with Kenneth Brannagh giving a career best (IMHO) when he appears in a dream sequence. Russell Tovey seemed to be having a ball too and as for Mr Simon Callow he is always oodles of fun. All in all a great film and I wish there were more like it.
Dark and often menacing French Thriller
After being sexually assaulted in her own home --- Isabelle Huppert decides not to go to the police as she has been let down by them from childhood. Instead she intends to use her own abilities, as the founder of a video games company, to find the culprit herself.
She is split from her husband and has an ambiguous relationship with her best friend and co founder of the business. Her son is in a relationship with a girl she hates and her love life is a series of 'encounters' that satisfy only her basic carnal needs – in short something is missing. Her quest to find the assailant also becomes a quest to find herself in many ways.
Now this is a very French film, the dialogue is pure Gallic in places as are the attitudes – and I do mean that in a complimentary way. The acting is excellent with Huppert being her usual great value for money. She has excellent support from everyone. The story has enough originality and momentum to hold its own and it kept me hooked for the full 130 minute run. In French with good sub titles this is one for fans of European cinema with all it has to offer.
La mécanique de l'ombre (2016)
Atmospheric French Thriller that can be a bit predictable
Scribe or ' La mécanique de l'ombre' is a Film starring Francois Cluzet ('Untouchable') as an accountant who loses his job after a bit of a meltdown. He takes two years to get his life back on track and then receives a telephone call one night offering him a job.
Well he hardly has anything better to do so he accepts despite there being some very strict rules – but all he has to do really is type out transcripts of telephone conversations. What at first seems like an easy gig soon takes on a much darker hue when he realises what is being revealed in the tapped phone calls.
Now this is really well made and the acting is superb. The plot is original up to a point and the direction and cinematography are professional and I really liked it as a film. However, it suffers from the thriller disease in that it has to have a few twists and a climactic end etc. I sort of spotted them all - except one and so for me it did tread a path that appeared a tad well worn. Despite that it is still a film with much to applaud hence my rating.
Historical Religious Story that really takes its time
This is a film from Martin Scorsese but not of the usual ilk. This is about two Portuguese Priests who volunteer to go to Japan in the 17th Century to find their missing mentor played by Liam Neeson. Once there they face religious persecution and extreme tests of faith and this is their story.
Now that is it and this goes on for 161 minutes and I know I will be called a philistine etc for saying this but it is incredibly dull. I was brought up a Catholic and find all kinds of Missionary activity to be a form or cultural imperialism so did not care a jot what happened to these interlopers. The testing of faith bit was interesting but this is a film that you could not pay me enough to endure again. My rating is for artistic merit and nothing to do with subjective enjoyment.
Salt and Fire (2016)
Clumsy Attempt at making something deep and meaningful
Written (screenplay) and directed by Werner Herzog and starring Michael Shannon and Gael Garcia-Bernal I thought this had all the hallmarks of a great film. However never judge a book or indeed a DVD by its cover. Set somewhere we are not really bothered with we meet international scientists who are on their way to investigate an eco disaster that is man made. On arrival they are sort of kidnapped by a group of black clad and all powerful types led by Shannon.
Then Veronica Ferres playing Dr Sommerfield gets taken off to some huge salt flats (actually in Bolivia) where she is abandoned with two blind twins whom she is supposed to look after. I am not sure if this is supposed to signify something deep and quite frankly by this stage of the ordeal I was beyond caring. Along the way there is lots of 'I am shouting therefore I am acting' type scenes, tons of meaningless and, would be, profound soliloquising which is only heightened in annoyance by the most puerile 'ethnic music' being dribbled over the top.
Also everyone seems to act irrationally and the whole thing is just a mess. This is a classic of the sum does not equal its parts variety of film. I tried very hard to find some positives from this and I even though about eco messaging etc. In the end if the planet relies on these egocentric thugs to survive then its best off to be left waiting for the sun to burn out. Only watch if you are forced to and then put up a spirited resistance - recommended to be ignored by everyone.
Romanian Drama on the corruption that attracts when a child's future is at stake
Romeo is a middle aged doctor in the rural mountains of Transylvania, he and his wife have long since exhausted the passion of their union and he seeks such comforts elsewhere. Meanwhile he and his wife live to see their daughter graduate and move to England to study psychology at university. All she has to do is finish school.
Then on the day before her final exams start she get assaulted outside the school. She is now an emotional wreck and all the careful plans laid over the last eighteen years are in tatters. However, Romania is the sort of place where if you have the right connections you can make things happen and so after a lifetime of doing the right thing Romeo finds temptation knocking on his door, that is to do the wrong thing but, in his heart, it is for the right reasons.
This is a very European film in that it often leaves things hanging – like life it is not all packaged for easy consumption. There is no musical score which adds to the mundanity of what is supposed to be ordinary in anyone's life. The societal issues are all dealt with in a way that makes them more or less matter of fact whilst not detracting from the base wrong doings that seem to be rampant. This is a film that uses a simple story to discuss complex issues that go into the very depths of belief and values and as such is one that is easy to recommend to all fans of thoughtful European cinema.
Handsome Devil (2016)
Great Irish Indie On Rugby, Boarding School and being 'different'
Ned hates school his father has remarried and decided to send his only son off to a boarding school. It is one of those schools where sports rule and in particular – rugby. Yes the ultra macho contact sport where beef, brawn and attitude count. My school was very similar. Ned is not sport minded and as such is an outcast being sneered at for being 'gay'.
Then new boy Connor arrives under a cloud from his previous school. Only he is also a top rugger player and gets placed in the same room as Ned. The Jock and the 'gay' are not best suited and neither boy is happy. However, the two soon form a bond based on mutual interests but it soon becomes apparent that the natural order of things is only allowed to be in flux for so long before the forces, that be, must exert themselves and return everything to its proper place.
Now this is a film supported by The Irish Film Board and has a cast peppered with talent including Ardal O'Hanlon, Moe Dunford ('Vikings') and Amy Huberman ('Moone Boy') and everyone puts in good performances. It can be light hearted and lack in character development in places, but it is a well rounded drama which focuses on those that we chose to exclude and how that fear of revulsion changes a person – and not always for the better. It is a scenario that is familiar to many and not one that any of us ought to be proud of for taking part in. It is also a ruddy good watch with perfect timing and drama to keep you hooked till the credits roll – easily recommended.
Argentinean Coming Out film
This is the story of Matias and Geronimo who were childhood friends and summered together at the farm of Jeronimo's down in the estuaries hence the title. Then Matias's father takes a job in Brazil just as the two boys were beginning to understand their sexual desires and identities.
Then the story moves up to the present day when after many years of separation they meet again but Matias now has a girlfriend and his life seems to have been mapped out for him. The problem is that the feelings both have long held resurface once they are reunited and there will be ructions for all.
Now this is not a ground breaking film both in terms of plot or presentation. It is a small story and has been called clichéd by some. However, it does have a certain charm and the actors are all very good, the bedroom antics are tasteful too and it all hangs together well. It is not great drama or aiming to advance the cause of gay lib but it is just a simple story about life, love and choices and as such I found it to be well worth a watch.
Challenging Political Religious Tale from Russia
Venya is a teenager with attitude, he is cared for by a single mother who works three jobs to keep body and soul together. Then one day she gets a call from his school saying he is refusing to take part in mixed swimming lessons. She imagines all the reasons why a teenage boy may not want to do such an activity but never thought that it would be against his political convictions. However, he insists that he is religiously motivated and his stance finds traction in the school principle.
As he realises that religion is power so he sets out to control those around him by becoming a sort of walking, talking Bible. The passages he quotes are very subjective and selective but when delivered with absolute conviction seem to carry more weight and their implicit truth appears loaded with spiritual and moral currency. His Nemesis in this is a forward thinking science and biology teacher but he knows he has God on his side.
Now this is taken from the play by Marius von Mayenburg who is German and the original Russian title was '(M)uchenik' which is a play on Russian words in that muchenik is 'martyr' and 'uchenik' is student – and as such is a brilliant title, but would not work in English – hence 'The Student'. The issues of religious control and the like are hot and controversial topics with parallels to way more than Christianity and as such the film has had its critics.
The acting, directing and cinematography are all excellent and the plot is both compelling and urgent for a film that runs just shy of two hours it really does not waste any time – in Russian with good sub titles this is a film that will divide opinion and I think that is no bad thing – so recommended to those who like to have to think about their cinema.
Compelling Indie Thriller from the US.
We meet three US Border Guards who are patrolling the Southern Border. They are Flores, Davis and the surly Hobbs. Davis is sort of new and a bit green around the ears etc They are doing a routine road check on a dusty stretch of New Mexico desert. The one vehicle rattles up and what it contains will set all there of them on a very different paths as to how they cope with kit.
Now to say anymore would ruin the plot. This is a film that trades on the twists to a large extent but at the same time is well rounded enough to be the sort of film you could watch again and get more from it – that is an accomplishment.
It is violent in parts and deals with some of the nastier issues to do with the Cartels and other aspects of cross border crime. At its heart though is the very human way we respond to threats and what life throws at you. The acting is all to the high end as is the cinematography which takes the arid desert and manages to make it a thing of beauty whilst managing to keep the tension ramped up. It is in English, Spanish and a touch of Mayan with a run time of 82 minutes. This is an indie film but suffers not an iota for that and is one for those who like realism with their grit and a such is one I can recommend.
Beautiful and Moving Film on the loss and love that war brings
Set in the German town of Quedlinberg in 1919 we meet Anna. Her fiancé –Frantz – has been killed near the end of The Great War and she mourns at an empty grave – his body having never been repatriated. She lives with his parents who are both grieving in different ways. Then one day she sees a man weeping at the graveside and discovers he is French. He soon makes himself known as a pre war friend of their beloved Frantz and breaks down their initial hostility towards him to get to know them better.
But all is not what it seems and this becomes a story of not one but two odyssey's as the storie(s) unfold along twist and turns. The film is shot in monochrome and colour. When it is black and white it is where things are bleak as if all the colour has drained from the world and then when love and hope appear so does the radiant colours. A simple enough device but done with subtle intensity an a film that takes its cinematography, rightfully, seriously.
The acting is all sublime with Piere Niney ('Yves St. Laurent') as the Frenchman – Adrien Rivoire – being perfectly cast balancing the fragility and immediacy of the role perfectly. Paula Beer as Anna really grows into her role too, which is necessary from the plots development and from the actual character development and is prefect also. All supporting actors are just spot on. The film also shies away from the melodrama that is often associated with extremes of emotion and take the everyday and makes it important.
This is one of those films that comes along all too seldom. It is in French and German with good subtitles. Yes it can be called 'Arthouse' but it is also a simple but powerful story told with great care and skill and is a film that will reward you for sticking with it to the end – easily recommended.
Nuo Lietuvos nepabegsi (2016)
A Classic in the 'must try harder' genre
The plot is that all round rich boy and auteur, gay, film maker Romas is riding high after his last film went down well in Mexico – and indeed so has he, which means he has hunky boyfriend Carlos now in tow. Then his friend, and oft used in his films, actress Indre turns up and she has been a tad naughty; in that she has sort of killed mummy.
Well as they are' bestie's so he decides to go on the run with her till it all sort of blows over – Carlos can come too – even if he hasn't got a clue what is going on as they speak Lithuanian all the time. So off they go on a road trip which entails Romas making a 'film' on mobile phone, Indre having violent melt downs and Carlos taking his kit off. I think I have covered all the bases.
Now I have only seen three critics' reviews on this and the only thing they don't agree on is quite how bad this is. The reasons are various in that it seems to be struggling to work out what it is, thriller, road movie, gay sexy, interesting – we just do not know. The music is electro cheap and manages to destroy any possible build up of tension empathy etc that has managed to seep out. The camera work is good with some interesting shots and the actors are OK – except Carlos who seems to really be there only for 'eye candy' and to get it a gay cover shot.
That may be why he is the buff so often to detract from his lacking thespian arts. Also it is slow in places and with a running time of 80 minutes that really is a bit unforgivable – the ending will either shock or you will go 'whatever' – I was in the latter camp. If the title of this film is to be believed then it beggars belief who in the love of all that is holy managed to let this film slip through.
The Wannabe (2015)
Mob adoration in a semi true 90's tale
Thomas idolizes the Mob and especially 'the Teflon Don' – John Gotti, seeing him as a modern day Robin Hood and the incidental crimes as sort of a necessary evil – sort of thing. Anyway we join them in 1992 when Gotti is on trial and the Teflon becomes 'Velcro' as all the charges start to stick.
Now Thomas is going out with a girl of questionable intellect and indeed taste who is brilliantly played by Patricia Arquette. Desperate to become part of the Gangsta scene Thomas hatches a plan to free his idol but in so doing he sets off a chain of events that he will become useless to control.
So is it any good? Well it is very watchable but sometimes feels very small in that it is a very personal tale about – essentially- two people and how they believe their own bull. Whilst this does not detract from the entertainment it also leave unmolested the underlying issues of worshipping the worst in society. That said it is still a well made and acted film that will appeal to any who like mob lore but it is not in the same league as the 'Goodfelllas' of this world.
Lost in France (2016)
Interesting Documentary on the Indie Label Chemikal Underground.
The 1990's was a time when music creativity in Glasgow was probably at some sort of zenith – not that it is exactly a shabby wasteland at the moment – far from it. However, they did things their own way and one of those ways was to avoid getting 'Londoned up' as Belle and Sebastian once put it. So some folk founded their own record labels and Chemikal Underground was born. It championed local talent and did things to get the music out there with a lot of exuberance and a few mistakes along the way.
One such thing was to play an up and coming festival in France and some seventeen years on they do a revisit and this documentary is all about that and tells the stories of the past and some of the people involved. It features Mogwai, The Delgados, Arab Strap and many others.
This is the sort of documentary where it really helps if you are aware of that scene and better still if you are a bit of a fan. I am a fan of most of these bands and was easily part of their target audience, however if you are new to this music then this will be hard to connect with but may still be worth a watch. Production wise it has professional standards and some of the archive footage was great as were some of the insightful interviews but it is probably the sort of thing you will only want to see once – so think twice unless you are a bit of a fan.
El olivo (2016)
A Beautiful Tale of Life, Love and a really old tree
Alma is a teenager who benefited from the pure love that a grandparent can give to a favoured grandchild. As such she loves her grandfather, but her own father and uncle are not so sweetly disposed to their old man. He, meanwhile, has started to slip from the World. His decline goes back to when his sons sold his beloved olive tree that was two thousand years old to fund a restaurant business before the banking crisis.
We get to a point where Alma realises he will die if he is not reunited with the tree and so sets out on a mission to find it and bring it home. Only problem is she hasn't got a clue or any money and no way of achieving her aims but she decides not to let the glaringly obvious stop her.
Now this is a lovingly written story by the brilliant Paul Laverty ('I Daniel Blake' etc) and is acted by players who all inhabit their perspective roles with a simple believability. It can be funny and it can be painful but at its heart it is just a very touching and human story and shows how a thing can be as important to a person and another person – we can not help what we love in life. It is in Spanish with a bit of German and some English – well translated in the sub titles. If you like Ken Loach film you will want to see this - completely recommended.
My Father Die (2016)
Superb depraved thriller
Asher is deaf and mute, but he wasn't always it was his abusive father that caused it to him when he was twelve, around the same time that his pops killed his brother for reasons of a sexual jealousy nature.
Ivan – the father then has to do his time in the State Pen etc. We join them on Ivan's release and how Asher now all grown up, and bursting for revenge, has decided that his daddykins is a boil that needs lancing.
Now that is a brief synopsis and this is essentially a violent thriller that did well at Frightfest. I thought it was excellent, some have complained it to being a bit 'arty', never a problem in my book and it is violent and depraved and dirty and even existentialist but all in a contextual way.
This is written, directed and has a bit part for Sean Brosnan (son of Pierce) but this is no vanity project. I found the cinematography to be well thought through and the timing of the 'action' just spot on. The actors all do a brilliant job and the story itself is as griping as it can be repulsive, so all in all some feat to have made so many differing aspects work together and work so well – one I can recommend completely.
Burn Burn Burn (2015)
British, Ash scattering road trip with oodles of heart
Seph and Alex have just lost a very dear friend. That is Dan who had not told anyone of his imminent demise but had been making films that eh intended to speak for him from beyond the grave.
One of his wishes was for them to take his ashes to various locations that were milestones in his life and leave a little bit of him in each one. He even has the transport worked out for them and they have to watch a part of his film at each site. This then becomes a road trip with a difference and the two girls soon find that it is more than a series of tasks for a friend it becomes a voyage of discovery for both of them.
Now this is a comedy drama but more drama than comedy as the comical moments tend to be the sort that are more incidental to life – which makes it much more watchable. It is an indie effort but has the hallmarks of a quality production and a few big names like Alison Steadman and Julian Rhind-Tutt, to name but two, are thrown in for good measure. Recommended for those who like a gentle comedy with moments of poignancy and just a dash of well placed drama.
Who's Gonna Love Me Now? (2016)
Well made and sometimes moving documentary of one mans coming to terms with HIV
Saar is an Israeli gay man who was thrown out of his Kibbutz for his sexual proclivities when he was 21. Coming from a Jewish background with close familial ties he decided there was no longer a place for him to 'fit in'. So he left and rocked up in London.
It was whilst he was living a life of excess, by his own account, that his partner told him that he was 'positive' and so he had to be tested too and you can guess the rest. Meanwhile his relationship with his wider family had continued to suffer. The film tells the story of how he reaches out to his father and siblings to see if there is any common ground left that they might all be able to inhabit or would religious bias, old fashioned social attitudes and fear of his 'infection' mean that there was little hope.
Now this is a well made film that is essentially a personal journey on the part of Saar and it does challenge some universal issues. Not least that of being HIV and the effects that that can have both physically and emotionally. There is also the love and support he has received from all his friends in London that have helped sustain him. The wider family issues are very personal but will strike a chord with anyone who has been shunned, half understood or worse by a member of their family. At 85 minutes long it is a reasonable length too; it is mainly in English with some Yiddish that seems to be well translated and as such one that is recommended.
Great if you like a fairy tale but historically it's insulting
The 'plot' of the film is that a young boy asks his grandpops, played by Harvey Ketiel, who his hero is. Mr Keitel then goes into the past and his experiences in Hungary during World War II. This is some guy called Sonson. So we are transported back to the era and so the story begins. Sonson loses his wife and then must find his sister in law who has been transported to Poland by the brutish gendarmerie of the Hungarian police.
I can't say any more in case I give too much of the plot away so PLOT SPOILERS next****
The acting is woeful in places but I can forgive that but it is the historical errors that I found insulting so I shall list some in no particular order.
The resistance travel about occupied Poland with no ID cards and the Germans never even ask for Sonson's at a checkpoint to the Warsaw Ghetto for his – oh and he's carrying a stolen Ss uniform too. A virtual platoon of SS uniforms left in the open for Sonsosn and co to use and of course they all fit the resisters. I spotted AK 47's – there is a clue as to when they were invented in the name (ie the 47 bit) and this is supposed to be 1943 to 1944. The Germans speak in English until they get upset and then it's all 'Mein Gott in Himmel' etc. The Ghetto is in the middle of nowhere not the centre of Warsaw. The final battle is in a farmyard. The BBC World service seems to be fixated on the movement of Jewish convoys – really!! Sonson blows a bag of grenades up on a tank track and is not injured some 5 foot from the blast. The Russias actually turn up to save the uprising like the bleedin 7th Cavalry– that got me angry when that happened. Then the Red Army decorate the Poles and Jews. Now the mistakes here would be laughable if it were not so insulting to those people who fought and suffered and were let down by the Russians and the rest of Poland who did not join them – oh they do here in case you were wondering. Any of the good points to this dross like cinematography or SFX are missed in a miasma of made up guff and mawkish sentimentality that had me gagging. The makers should be ashamed of themselves and there have been complaints too about the portrayal of the Hungarian Gendarmerie so quite a few own goals. I have seen better accuracy and honest representation of facts in a Donald Trump interview – avoid like a self immolation contest.
Fact Based Story of one notorious Holocaust Denier
David Irving (Timothy Spall) is a self educated British historian who wrote numerous tomes based on his studies of the archives in which he decided or rather concluded that the Holocaust has been a bit exaggerated by the Jews. Rachel Weisz plays Deborah Lipstadt who in 1996 he sued for libel at the High Court in London. His case was that she had denigrated him and his works in her book about Holocaust denial.
If you are accused of libel in the UK then you have to prove that what you said was true (one of the defences). It is what is known as justification. Penguin books appointed a sterling defence team who decided that they would put history on trial and use this as a vehicle to debunk Mr Irving for once and for all. What follows is essentially a court based drama.
Now this is a good film. It is from the BBC but they are wont to play to the galleries these days and that is what happens here. It is overly emotional and despite a stellar cast that includes John Sessions, Tom Wilkinson and Mark Gatiss it never quite equals the sum of its parts. Rachel Weisz is an excellent actress but she does over play it in some scenes but then manages to pull it back. Timothy Spall is the most consistent and believable of all in a role which continues to demonstrate his virtuosity as an actor. All in all a film that is very much worth seeing.